A few years ago, the Belmont men’s and women’s soccer teams played on Whitten Field. It was a vast green space in front of McWhorter Hall – complete with a running track around its perimeter.
As a baby Bruin, I enjoyed being able to watch athletes duke it out on the pitch from the convenience of my dorm room in the then recently established New Hall North, now called Patton. But the real fun was heading over to the stands to watch the games.
The residents whose rooms bordered the field boasted signs of red, white and navy in support of the home team. And the environment was electric, especially for the Battle of the Boulevard. I believe the athletes on the field had just as much fun competing as we did watching.
When the teams weren’t practicing or playing on the field, students used it. You’d often see people playing Frisbee or tossing a baseball. And intramural squads and club teams used it to hone their skills, gearing up for their next competition.
Back then, there were no “Field closed” signs.
Needless to say, when I received an email from residence life this week asking students to not wear cleats on any lawn or green space on campus, I was slightly puzzled. I certainly appreciate the work that the landscaping and grounds crew put in to make sure campus is an inviting place to study and work, but I’m an advocate for the opportunity to play.
Only three years ago, students wearing cleats were allowed to trounce all over the field in the name of Division-I athletics. Now, if you’re wanting some traction, so you and your lacrosse stick don’t take a tumble, you’re out of luck.
Want to increase your stride length to outrun your flag football safety? Well, you’re going to have to find a way to do it without your spiked sidekicks.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a cranky old senior who has felt the blast of dynamite one time too many in the morning, but I think this little warning about athletic attire detracts from a big part of college.
We are here first and foremost to learn, but while at Belmont, I believe we need to take time to live a little – even if it means putting a few divots in what was the soccer field.
Poet Shel Silverstein shares the same sentiment in the last two stanzas of his poem “Ma and God:”
God gave us fingers–Ma says, “Put your gloves on.”
God gave us raindrops–Ma says, “Don’t get wet.”
Ma says be careful, and don’t get too near to
Those strange lovely dogs that God gave us to pet.
God gave us fingers–Ma says, “Go wash ’em.”
But God gave us coal bins and nice dirty bodies.
And I ain’t too smart, but there’s one thing for certain–
Either Ma’s wrong or else God is.”
I say, God gave you feet. Go play.
Vision Sports Editor Katie Greene is a senior mass communication major.